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Abstain: During a vote on a substantive matter, delegates may abstain rather

than vote yes or no. This generally signals that a country does not support the
resolution being voted on, but does not oppose it enough to vote no.
Adjourn: All UN or Model UN sessions end with a vote to adjourn. This
means that the debate is suspended until the next meeting. This can be a
short time (e.g. overnight) or a long time (e.g. until next year's conference).
Agenda: The order in which the issues before a committee will be discussed.
The first duty of a committee following the roll call is usually to set the agenda.
Amendment: A change to a draft resolution on the floor. Can be of two types:
a "friendly amendment" is supported by the original draft resolution's
sponsors, and is passed automatically, while an "unfriendly amendment" is
not supported by the original sponsors and must be voted on by the
committee as a whole.
Background guide: A guide to a topic being discussed in a Model UN
committee usually written by conference organizers and distributed to
delegates before the conference. The starting point for any research before a
Model UN conference.
Binding: Having legal force in UN member states. Security Council
resolutions are binding, as are decisions of the International Court of Justice;
resolutions of the General Assembly, Political Committee, Economic and
Social Council, and the Human Rights Council are not.
Bloc: A group of countries in a similar geographical region or with a similar
opinion on a particular topic. Blocs typically vote together.
Caucus: A break in formal debate in which countries can more easily and
informally discuss a topic. There are two types: moderated caucus and
unmoderated caucus.
Chair: A member of the dais that moderates debate, keeps time, rules on
points and motions, and enforces the rules of procedure. Also known as a
Dais: The group of people in charge of a Model UN committee. Generally,
consists of a Chair and two Vice-Chairs. The dais is also the raised platform

on which the chair traditionally sits.

Decorum: The order and respect for others that all delegates at a Model UN
conference must exhibit. The Chair will call for decorum when he or she feels
that the committee is not being respectful of a speaker, of the dais, or of their
roles as ambassadors.
Delegate: A student acting as a representative of a member state or observer
in a Model UN committee.
Delegation: The entire group of people representing a member state or
observer in all committees at a particular Model UN conference.
Division of the Question: During voting bloc, delegates may motion to vote
on certain clauses of a resolution separately, so that only the clauses that are
passed become part of the final resolution. This is known as division of the
Division of the House: Form of voting procedure where voting is done by role
call. Abstentions are not in order.
Draft resolution: A document that seeks to fix the problems addressed by a
Model UN committee. If passed by the committee, the draft resolution will
become into a resolution.
Faculty Advisor: The faculty member in charge of a Model UN team, class or
Flow of debate: The order in which events proceed during a Model UN
conference. This usually indicates the movement between formal and informal
debate and the process of drafting, debating and voting on resolutions.
Gavel: The tool, shaped like a small wooden hammer, which the Chair uses to
keep order within a Model UN committee. Many conferences give the gavel
used in a committee to the delegate recognized by the dais as the best in that
committee; therefore, the term is frequently used to refer to the award given to
the best delegate, even in cases where no actual gavel is given.
Head Delegate: The student leader of a Model UN club or team.

Member State: A country that has ratified the Charter of the United Nations
and whose application to join has been accepted by the General Assembly
and Security Council. Currently, there are 193 member states.
Moderated Caucus: A type of caucus in which delegates remain seated and
the Chair calls on them one at a time to speak for a short period of time,
enabling a freer exchange of opinions than would be possible in formal
Motion: A request made by a delegate that the committee as a whole do
something. Some motions might be to go into a caucus, to adjourn, to
introduce a draft resolution, or to move into voting procedure.
Observer: A state, national organization, regional organization, or nongovernmental organization that is not a member of the UN but participates in
its debates. Observers can vote on procedural matters but not substantive
matters. An example is the Holy See.
On the floor: At a Model UN conference, when a working paper or draft
resolution is first written, it may not be discussed in debate. After it is
approved by the Director and introduced by the committee, it is put "on the
floor" and may be discussed.
Operative clause: The part of a resolution which describes how the UN will
address a problem. It begins with an action verb (decides, establishes,
recommends, etc.).
Page: A delegate in a Model UN committee that has volunteered to pass
notes from one delegate to another, or from a delegate to the dais, for a short
period of time.
Placard: A piece of cardstock with a country's name on it that a delegate
raises in the air to signal to the Chair that he or she wishes to speak.
Point: A request raised by a delegate for information or for an action relating
to that delegate. Examples include a point of order, a point of inquiry, and a
point of personal privilege
Position paper: A summary of a country's position on a topic, written by a
delegate before a Model UN conference.

Preambulatory Clause: The part of a resolution that describes previous

actions taken on the topic and reasons why the resolution is necessary. It
begins with a participle or adjective (noting, concerned, regretting, aware of,
recalling, etc.).
Procedural: Having to do with the way a committee is run, as opposed to the
topic being discussed. All delegates present must vote on procedural matters
and may not abstain.
Quorum: The minimum number of delegates needed to be present for a
committee to meet. In the General Assembly, a quorum consists of one third
of the members to begin debate, and a majority of members to pass a
resolution. In the Security Council, no quorum exists for the body to debate,
but nine members must be present to pass a resolution.
Resolution: A document that has been passed by an organ of the UN that
aims to address a particular problem or issue.
Right of Reply: A right to speak in reply to a previous speaker's comment,
invoked when a delegate feels personally insulted by another's speech.
Generally requires a written note to the Chair to be invoked.
Roll Call: The first order of business in a Model UN committee, during which
the Rapporteur reads aloud the names of each member state in the
committee. When a delegate's country's name is called, he or she may
respond "present" or "present and voting." A delegate responding "present
and voting" may not abstain on a substantive vote.
Rules of Procedure: The rules by which a Model UN committee is run.
Second: To agree with a motion being proposed. Many motions must be
seconded before they can be brought to a vote.
Secretariat: The staff of a Model UN conference. At BRAMUN, this includes
the Secretary General and the Chief Informations Officer.
Signatory: A country that wishes a draft resolution to be put on the floor and
signs the draft resolution to accomplish this. A signatory need not support a
resolution; it only wants it to be discussed. Usually, Model UN conferences

require some minimum number of sponsors and signatories for a draft

resolution to be approved.
Simple majority: 50% plus one vote of the number of delegates in a
committee. The amount needed to pass most votes.
Speakers' List: A list that determines the order in which delegates will speak.
Whenever a new topic is opened for discussion, the Chair will create a
speakers' list by asking all delegates wishing to speak to raise their placards
and calling on them one at a time. During debate, a delegate may indicate that
he or she wishes to be added to the speakers' list by sending a note to the
Sponsor: One of the writers of a draft resolution. A friendly amendment can
only be created if all sponsors agree.
Substantive: Having to do with the topic being discussed. A substantive vote
is a vote on a draft resolution or amendment already on the floor during voting
bloc. Only member states (not observer states or non-governmental
organizations) may vote on substantive issues.
Unmoderated Caucus: A type of caucus in which delegates leave their seats
to mingle and speak freely. Enables the free sharing of ideas to an extent not
possible in formal debate or even a moderated caucus. Frequently used to
sort countries into blocs and to write working papers and draft resolutions.
Working Paper: A document in which the ideas of some delegates on how to
resolve an issue are proposed. Frequently the precursor to a draft resolution.
Veto: The ability, held by China, France, the Russian Federation, the United
Kingdom, and the United States to prevent any draft resolution in the Security
Council from passing by voting no.
Vote: A time at which delegates indicate whether they do or do not support a
proposed action for the committee. There are two types: procedural and
Voting procedure: The period at the end of a committee session during
which delegates vote on proposed amendments and draft resolutions. Nobody
may enter or leave committee at this time.